Memoirs of Christmas

by on March 7th, 2015
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In the back seat of a my mother’s blue small two door car, the wind in my face, my hair blown back, it was warm but the wind makes it so I had to wear a sweater. I was with my mother and my grandmother, driving to through the winding roads of Las Marias, Puerto Rico.

It’s Christmas eve, you can smell it in the air, and the crisp shiny sun warms you from inside. Once we got to my aunt’s house we got out of the car, which my mother parked like about 100 yards away from the house, next to a small hut that was made just for chickens and rosters. I remember the smell of it and the noise the chickens use to make, all of them singing at unison. And everyone looking around to see who came in.

My great grandfather was still walking around the mountain and my great grandmother was in a little hut on the side of the house cooking on the wood fire kitchen. There is nothing better than closing my eyes and breath in and smell the burning wood and great cooking.

Everyone is getting ready, and people is coming in. Speakers for the music are tuned, and the food is smelling good. Christmas is all about being with family, eat, dance, laugh and sing. Big gatherings, guitars, and the puertorrican cuatro are ready. The Parrandas are on the way.

Parrandas are a group of people that go from one house to the other singing with guitars, cuatros, maracas, guiros, and bongo. And as thanks, the people that live on the houses we went paid us with food and drinks. It might be 3:00am but we still singing. It is time to celebrate, Jesus Christ is born.

It was cold, I mean 65 degree Fahrenheit in Puerto Rico, that is freezing. But all the kids were up by 7:00am opening gifts and the grown ups are having some asopao, which is a thick chicken soup made with rice instead of pasta. That would help them to get through the day and to party again tonight, after all is Christmas night and we have to do it all over again.

The dinner tonight is bigger, rice with pigeon peas and the roasted pig are the main menu and everyone is waiting to taste what they being smelling all day long in the air. Of course that there are other things to eat, like pasteles which are green banana paste filled with pork and wrapped on a banana leave and then boiled. And for dessert coconut rice pudding with raisins.

Now that I am older, I try to give my kids everything that I enjoyed when I was little, I try to make their Christmas as memorable as possible. I mean every culture has a way to celebrate. We go to church and we exchange gifts. But the food, and the music are what makes us different.

It doesn’t matter where you are, or where you from. Christmas is a time to celebrate and be with friends and family. To get reunited. Take a day out of our busy schedule to remember, to be kids again. Is good for you and those that surround you. Just Believe and Enjoy, after all is only once a year.

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